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Al Arbour

Born:November 1, 1932Draft: Undrafted Red Wings 1953
Hometown:Sudbury, ON, CANPosition:D
Known For:Jack Adams AwardShoots/Catches:Left
National Team:Canada

Alger Joseph Arbour (November 1, 1932 – August 28, 2015) was a Canadian ice hockey player, coach, and executive. He is third to Joel Quenneville for games coached in National Hockey League history and fifth all-time in wins, behind Scotty Bowman, Joel Quenneville, Ken Hitchcock, and Barry Trotz.

Under Arbour, the New York Islanders won four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983. Born in Sudbury, Ontario, Arbour played amateur hockey as a defenceman with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League. He played his first professional games with the Detroit Red Wings in 1953. Claimed by the Chicago Black Hawks in 1958, Arbour helped the team win a championship in 1961. Arbour played with the Toronto Maple Leafs for the next five years, winning another Cup in 1962. He was selected by the St. Louis Blues in their 1967 expansion draft and played his final four seasons with the team.

During his last year with the Blues, Arbour was hired mid-season to coach the team. In 107 games, he led them to a 42–40–25 record, but only one playoff series win. After a woeful expansion season in 1972-73 in which the New York Islanders were coached by Phil Goyette and Earl Ingarfield, the club hired Arbour as its new coach in 1973. Arbour led the team to a winning record every season from 1974–75 until he stepped down in 1985–86.

Arbour won nineteen consecutive playoff series, which remains an NHL and North American sports record. He was awarded the Jack Adams Award as the league’s top coach in 1979. Upon retiring from the bench, Arbour was named vice-president of player development for the Islanders. He returned to coach the Islanders in the 1988–89 season and remained there through 1993-94, notably upsetting the two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1993 playoffs. He was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for his contributions to the sport and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996.

Years as an NHL player: 1953-1971

Years as an NHL coach: 1970-1994

Head Coach Al Arbour of the New York Islanders
Al Arbour, New York Islanders Head Coach (Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

Al Arbour Statistics

Deeper Dive

Coaching History

Achievements

  • As a Head Coach
    • Jack Adams Award (1979)
    • Four-time Stanley Cup Champion with the Islanders (1980, 1981, 1982, 1983)
    • Lester Patrick Trophy (1996)
    • Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 1996
    • Also a member of the New York Islanders Hall of Fame & Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame
    • At an NHL-record 75-years-old, he came out of retirement to coach his 1,500th game for the Islanders in 2007 at the request of then-head coach Ted Nolan
    • The only coach in NHL history to coach 1,500 games for the same team
    • Fifth all-time in wins (782), third in NHL games coached (1,607)
  • As a Player
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Sources